This post originally appeared here on Change Your Mind Change Your Life.
Here's Why I No Longer Set Foot In A Church
I used to be a regular church goer.
I loved it, the setting, the atmosphere, and the people. I usually arrived early, long before the crowd to prepare myself before I lead a 2-hour worship session. It was great. There was a sense of fulfillment when I see the faces of the congregation when they respond to the lyrics of the songs and the music.
It made me feel like I was fulfilling my purpose. I believed that was my calling, being the vessel that connects people to God through my gifts. That’s what I did. Most of all the time.
When I’m not leading in songs, I led prayer and support groups, encouraging others to stay strong in faith.
After years of being a committed Christian, I battled with unanswered questions. Questions about life, about God, and death. I had this thought, what if everything the Bible teaches is wrong, or at best, incomplete? Wouldn’t I be missing out big time?
There was no way to know because questioning the authority of the Bible and the church is unheard of where I came from. They taught me to submit and obey. Period.
I found out much later this was not a one-off case. Some people have gone through this phase. Back then it felt weird because I thought that something must have gone wrong for me to want to question authority. I am clearly not pleasing God. My entire Christian life was to earn brownie points, which I thought would determine where I will end up in the future, here and in eternity.
The more I question, the less sense it made. I was well-grounded in sound doctrine, to where I am entrusted to lead others to the ‘way’. And here I am questioning my own motives.
I can’t confide in anyone, so I determine to find answers on my own.
I have always thought there was only one God, one true religion that was ‘right’ but I’m no longer convinced.
The further I went, the clearer it became. The fakeness I experienced was excruciating — with people, with the church, and with myself. I remember covering it all up by convincing myself that people’s attitudes should not determine God’s standards because He is unchanging. After all, we have missed the mark and we are far from perfect. Only He is perfect. And that’s was the internal argument that went on for months.
But how long can I ignore the nudging of my heart?
I started diverting for the first time in a long time, exploring various teachings from outside the Christian circle, which was an abomination. I wanted to know if they can answer any of my pressing questions. What do they have to say about the absolutes that characterize the nature of the one true God?
The discovery took me by surprise. My attempt was not trying to identify a replacement, as I’m only interested to hear what others have to say. I discovered that religion means conformity within a certain group, and each group strongly defended what they believed in. I see there is no way any group would allow the other to penetrate their beliefs, which resulted in limitation despite having so much in common.
I have always thought there was only one God, one true religion that was ‘right’ but I’m no longer convinced. Earth is a masterclass for the privileged ones to have a place to learn and to grow. I no longer view life as a continuous punishment or we are puppets under the control of the great divine. Slowly the grey areas cleared and the light started pouring in.
I’m not living under parole, where my actions shall determine if I would end up in heaven with rewards or hell with punishments. That was a real stress buster, to put it mildly.
My entire perspective about life changed. I don’t even know if it’s a 360-degree turn or a blast into the cosmos and back, but the light inside me turned on.
When you experience no light, no clarity, and no peace, be willing to listen to your heart instincts and choose a path that calls to you.
The first thing I wanted to master was meditation. It intrigued me to know what’s hidden on the other side, but for the longest time, I seemed to bang my head against a wall that I couldn’t penetrate. I’m determined to do this and I will not stop till I get it. It took me close to 7 months before I finally get my hyperactive brain to slow down.
That’s when I start having visitations and supernatural encounters, including out-of-body experiences. I learned I can talk to God, and He talked back. Pretty amazing! I traveled to places in my mind while my body was lying at home.
I developed a genuine relationship with God, something that was unattainable because they said it’s only for the few super-spiritual ones. I’m no longer an outsider looking in, being a part of the divine spark which does not at all make me exclusive because we are all a part of that. We only need to discover the truth and be open to receive.
By this time, they have labeled me a cult. “Anointed worship leader turned cult, beware of Satan’s agents.” I didn’t know until I found out that was referring to me by one member. No, I wasn’t angry, and it doesn’t piss me off. I just can’t help but feel sorry to see how hopeless they were in their ways.
I’m not advocating any religion is better than another or any way is higher than another. I can totally accept that everyone is on their journey and spiritual awakening will come at its appointed time or when you’re ready for it. It is one of the most confusing yet supremely beautiful experiences anyone can ever have.
It is when I saw through the illusions of this world. It made me realize that what I see with my eyes in this dimension is not all there is and the meaning of life encompasses more than just having a job, have a family, live and die.
Don’t be afraid when major life changes force you to re-evaluate the meaning of life. When you experience no light, no clarity, and no peace, be willing to listen to your heart instincts and choose a path that calls to you.
It has been years since I set foot in a church. Do I still love God? Of course, I do. The definition and the concept of God are not the same as what I used to understand before. It’s more than lip service, more than just rituals, and it goes beyond dogma.
It’s a relationship. And you better believe when they say you are never alone. That freaks me out in the beginning.
Spiritual awakenings mark the commencement of our spiritual paths, and the inner work never ends. We need to recognize and honor this ebb and flow of transformation. You continue to transform from one state to another until it’s time to go.
Can anyone relate?
I’m a writer and it’s my job to tell stories. I try to give meaning to everything through my words but sometimes, no, most times words are inadequate.
I won’t convince you what I went through was real and I won’t even try. This experience has to be uniquely your own. I certainly have not arrived. None of us have. Removing the veil one layer at a time helped me discover a part of myself that I didn’t know exists.
Life is truly amazing when we have a clearer understanding of the state we are in at a given moment.
Whenever unpleasant things or events get me down, I remind myself that I’m wholly loved and completely supported by the Universe and that things will turn out for me just fine.